PARIS (AP) — French authorities say prominent Islamic scholar Tariq Ramadan is being investigated for allegedly raping two women and could be held in long-term custody while the probe continues.
A judicial official said the Paris prosecutor’s office opened a formal inquiry Friday based on complaints against Ramadan the women filed last year. Ramadan has been in custody for questioning in Paris since Wednesday.
The official says Ramadan could be handed preliminary charges of rape in one case, relating to a 2009 incident, and rape of a vulnerable person in the second case, involving an incident in 2012.
The judicial official was not authorized to be publicly named and requested anonymity.
The prosecutor’s office is asking judges to keep Ramadan in custody, likely because of concerns he could leave the country.
Ramadan, who is Swiss, strongly denies wrongdoing and has filed his own suit for false allegations. He is on leave from Oxford University, where he is a professor of contemporary Islamic studies.
Ramadan, who travels frequently and has written numerous books on Islam and the integration of Muslims in Europe, is being investigated by French authorities because the rapes are alleged to have taken place in Paris and Lyon.